Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Onomichi 尾道 is literally translated as “tail road”

After we touched down in Hiroshima Airport, we drove directly to the southwest Honshu, a small town called Onomichi. This is a hilly port city which is famous due to a famous drama called 東京物語 (Tokyo Monogatari) which was filmed here. And also well-known for it cats alley, hilly slopes, lemon and mandarin and onomichi ramen noodles.

Onomichi 尾道 is literally translated as “tail road”, tucked into a coastal nook of the Seto Inland Sea (about halfway between Okayama and Hiroshima city), it is the point where the body of Honshu/main island of Japan whips up its tail.

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima    Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Senkoji & Senkoji Park

There is cable car built in 1957 runs to a park atop of Mt Senjoji where you are able to see the view of spring cherry blossoms from the iconic Senkoji Temple, only cost few hundred yen (few USD dollar) to go up one way. As we are here during autumn, there is no cherry blossoms so we didn’t make it to the top of Senkoji Park.  Best time to visit is during cherry blossom season from Mar to May.

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

We plan to have a little break in Onomichi and have our lunch here.

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Onomichi Hondori Shopping Street

The Shopping street also known as “Shotengai”/ (商店街) in Japanese in the heart of Onomichi town center. “Shotengai”/ (商店街) is a style of Japanese commercial district running along a certain street and it often connect to the nearest train station. The “Shotengai”/ (商店街) usually is covered arcades and only for pedestrian, not for any vehicles to pass by.

As it was still early in the morning on a Sunday morning, many shops are about to open and some are still closed.  It usually has more people than this when it gets lunch time hour.

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

The Onomichi Shotengai is full of interesting shops, cafe, restaurant which are mixed of both new and old idea decoration. This is a classic Showa Era shopping street, covered with semitransparent ceiling in case for rainy days.

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Pet Superpower 

When you travel in Japan, you will notice the pet boom as many kept dog as ‘companion animal’. Japan has become a pet superpower I think, many kept the dog like their baby. They would carry the dog like a baby and walk around in the street, their dogs also wear fancy clothes, hat and spectacles.

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

When you walk in Onomichi Shotengai, do observe all the interesting decoration in front of each shop.

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Onomichi trinkets

Many of the trinkets are painted with faces of cat and pig.

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Musical Classroom

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Antique coffee maker is in front of the coffee shop.

Despite the small size of Onomichi, this town has a surprisingly developed coffee culture. Onomichi serve good coffee.

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Onomichi is famous for Lemons & Mandarin

Onomichi is famous for lemons and mandarins as plenty were harvested from surrounding islands in the Seto Inland Sea.

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

You will notice most of the food such as cake, bread, cookies, jelly or crackers – lemon and oranges are added in.

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Japanese “Omiyage”

Japanese omiyage is a gift or souvenir to bring back for friends and coworkers after returning from a trip. The Omiyage boxes are brightly colored, wrap in beautiful Japanese wrapping paper and contain individually wrapped snacks. I do adore these omiyage at the shelf but I find them not environmental friendly so refuse to buy any.

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Lemon & Mandarin Jelly from Innoshima

This cute jelly cost 180 yen ( USD 1.60) is worth to try out and best to eat after chill.  The jelly has got the lemon taste and there are fresh “mikan” / mandarin inside.  This is one of the must try in this region as you get to see this selling almost everywhere.

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Calbee prawn cracker also added lemon flavor into their special edition over here. The small packet cost 165 yen (USD $1.45)

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Bakery shops are amazing!

Japanese bakery shop is one stop you cannot missed while in Japan. Japanese bakery is great and their dessert is even better! Basically anywhere in Japan you will find nice bakery, don’t have to be in Onomich.

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Lemon Tart is the Meibutsu (名物) /”famous thing” in Onomichi

I found lemon are also added to most of the bakery here.  I have bought one  lemon tart (below) to try out.  Cost 200 yen ( USD 1.75).  The lemon tart here is very famous and must try in Onomichi. Special “famous thing” is called “Meibutsu”/(名物).

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima   Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Onomichi Cat Town

Onomichi boost heaven for cat lovers after one of the project went viral with images of cats and short biographies of these cats. There are also cat alleys through the town. So expect to see some of the “omiyage”/souvenirs are with cats packaging. (See below)

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Bento Shop

The bento lunch box selling here are cheap, around 500 yen (USD 4.50) which include variety of dishes, chicken, eggs and fishes. If you want something not noodles and cheap, you can always go for bento.

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Onomichi Shukaen (朱華園)

Shukaen (朱華園) is a popular place for ramen in Onomichi, before 11 am, the queue is already so long. As time are very precious to us, we went in for another shop across the street also serving ramen.

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Onomichi Ramen – Must try in Onomichi!

We ordered Soy sauce ramen. The ramen “dashi”/soup stock is made using chicken bones and small fish from the Seto Inland Sea with clear soy sauce base. The ramen has a big slice of chashu/bbq pork not in red color like the one we have in Singapore. Their chashu (only 1 big slice) is without the red coloring. There are also bamboo shoots and green onion serve as topping.

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Husband and wife behind the counter making ramen noodles & kyoza dumplings.

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Menu in Japanese

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Signature Dish : Onomichi Shoyu Ramen = Onomichi Soy Sauce Ramen 600 yen ( USD $.5.30)

The Onomichi Shoyu Ramen tasted super yummy!

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Yakisoba 750 yen (USD 6.60)

Compare to Onomichi Shoyu Ramen,  yakisoba does not taste as great.  My vote still go to Onomichi Shoyu Ramen. Big chucks of chashu/bbq pork, cabbages, carrots and black fungus are added.

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Kyoza – Fried Dumpling 400yen (USD 3.50)

Another highly recommeded dish is the kyoza/fried dumplings.  It has 6 pcs and fresh and well pan-fried.

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Parking in Onomichi

There is a multi storey car park near Onomich town center, just 3 mins walk to Onomichi Hondori Shopping Street. The parking fees aren’t too expensive, we paid for 210 yen (USD $ 1.85) for slightly more than an hour.

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Take your ticket upon entrance.  Then you can pay at the machine when you exit.  Just insert the money, usually 1,000 yen (USD 8.85) notes or coin into this yellow machine. You can also insert coins.

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

We parked at the rooftop as there are only 2 or 3 spaces left.  It was around 10.30 am plus and glad we are here early.  I notice the car park was full when we made our way out to the car park to find our lunch.  We are the last 3 cars that made it to the car park.

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Parking space in Japan Onomich

Not too narrow and quite manageable.

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

View from the car park rooftop 

You get to see the whole seaport from the top of the car park rooftop.

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

If you get the bento/lunch set, you can sit down near the seaport and have your meals right in front of the water as there are plenty of tables and chairs available.

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

There is no elevator in this car park so you have to climb up, anyway there are only 3 storey.

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

Final thoughts

Onomichi is a small quiet town before entering to Shikoku island. We have a brief stop here for lunch. Onomichi ramen is a must try food while in Onomichi. The other things you may notice are lemon and mandarins are added into most of the snacks here. Best souvenirs to buy back are anything with lemon and mandarin, such as lemon tart and lemon jelly. Onomichi is also famous for it cat alley as the Cat Street View project went viral many years ago. The Cat Street View project focus on local tourism and you get to see from the perspective of a cat aka cat view/eye level.

Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima

29 Replies to “Japan Southwest Honshu / Chugoku : Cat Alley of Onomichi Town, Hiroshima”

    1. Dear Stacie,

      The local people are so friendly and polite which make them different from other part of Asian country. You notice they keep bowing and it look interesting to watch two parties talking, especially those in business suits.

  1. I was very excited to come across your post, as I have just booked to visit Japan for the first time next year! Thank you for sharing your experiences 🙂

    1. Dear Lyosha,

      Most people would come back to Japan after they seen Japan for the first time! I guess the food, the culture, the people and the little cute things sold in Japan attract us.

  2. I absolutely love Japan! Even though I have never traveled to, I have always wanted to! The culture, food, etc. All amazes me! This is definitely a place I would like to visit!

    1. Dear Jessica,

      Japan is a popular place to visit in Asia. Tourists from around the globe flew in to check out their facinating culture and interesting food cuisine and the beautiful scenery.

    1. Dear Monidipa,

      Onomichi town is famous for it Onomichi ramen noodles, I have ordered the signature Shoyu Ramen which has the base soup from chicken and fishes and soya sauce. It tasted wonderful and is the must have when in Onomichi town.

    1. Dear Chad,
      Small town has so many hidden gems to offer. Onomichi is in Hiroshima Prefecture Japan about an hour drive away from Hiroshima Airport. The small town is an entrance gate before entering Shikoku Islands.

    1. Dear Yeah,

      The walking street also known as “shotengai” is one of the must see while in Japan. I think best place to get your souvenir back home too. These shops in the shopping street in Onomichi town are still remaining the old fashion way but the front deco of the shops are so interesting and creative.

  3. Japan is one of my favorite country to visit. My sister said that the people in this country are so kind. Aside from that, they have so many beautiful scenery and spots that you will really enjoy. I am hoping to achieve this goal before the end of this year or maybe next year.

    1. Dear Catherine,

      Your sister is right. Japanese are one of the polite nation in the world. They bow whenever you entered a restaurant, a shop, hotel lobby. Japanease has the best service in the world, the souvenirs snacks with bright color box are wrapped in attractive wrapping paper to be bring back for neighbor, friends, colleague and relatives. Much of Japan’s etiquette originated in the formal rituals of the tea ceremony and martial arts.

      I did some tea ceremony lesson before during my exchange student program many years ago. I remember that the tea-ceremony host works hard to prepare the right atmosphere in which to entertain guests, choosing the most appropriate bowls, flowers and decoration without expecting anything in return. The guests, conscious of the host’s efforts, respond by showing an almost reverential gratitude. Hence you see the guest usually has to admire the tea cup, the flower and the snacks.

      Japanese culture is really unique and the bowing and politeness really made them stands out from the rest of Asian country.

    1. Dear Pink Frenzy,

      Many people would fall in love with Japan after visiting once. Their cute “kawaii” culture, their kimono costume together with white painted face, the Japanese cuisine which are displayed in all sort of different plates in a tray and their politeness bowing are all very interesting.

    1. Dear Shar,

      Yes, do remember to try out the famous food here, such as Onomichi Shoyu (soya sauce) ramen noodles and any snacks, cakes or bread that is made with lemon and mandarin flavour.

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